44. Walking Away One Last Time

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One more chapter (after this one) until the book ends.

Yes I know, it's bittersweet.

Anyway, Enjoy!

Nicky's POV 

I step off the elevator and walk down the hall in the direction of Ryder's room.

After he had woken up-and after much argument from him-I had gone and rented a room and the hotel across the street and taken the time to actually shower, eat, and sleep in something other than a hospital chair.

Mind you, this was only after Ryder had threatened to get my visiting privileges revoked until I took care of myself.

Not even awake for twenty-four hours he's already being a pain in the ass.

Damien's standing in the hallway outside Ryder's room when I turn the corner.

"Tone down the sarcasm," I hear him say and notice that he's got his phone pressed to his ear. "I wasn't trying to poke fun at you. I was actually going to ask if you wanted me to deal with the media."

He nods in greeting to me, acknowledging me while he listens to the person talking to him through the phone.

He lets out a long sigh. "You can believe that all you want but I'm not your enemy, Miss Carver."

I tune out the rest of his conversation as I walk into Ryder's room.

A table's set up next to his bedside and on it a chess board. I watch as Ryder moves a piece before turning his attention to me, smiling as he sees me.

I also watch as Lily picks up her piece, swats away one of his with an evil laugh and puts her piece in its place.

I watch as Ryder then takes her queen. Lily demonstrates her colorful vocabulary which she no doubt, learned from Ryder.

"I was wondering when you'd be coming back," Ryder says as he looks back to me. "I was beginning to think you left."

I smile at him and take the empty seat opposite Lily, at his side. "Not yet," I reply.

He laughs and then winces, his hand going to his chest briefly. He waves me off when he sees the concern on my face.

"I'm fine carrot top," He tells me.

Lily mutters something that sounds suspiciously like, "If I can't kill him, no one can."

"I do have a question for you though. Something I forgot to ask before," He says as he moves another of his pieces when it's his turn. I wait for him to say more but he doesn't.

"And your question is . . ." I trail off, waiting for his reply.

He smiles at Lily as he watches her move her piece. He takes his turn and then he looks at me.

"Now," He says as he folds his hands together in his lap. He looks at me calmly, collectively.

"Uh oh," Lily mutters. Her gaze remains locked on Ryder's face, reading him.

I turn to look at her questioningly.

"I think I'll wait outside," She says. She makes a point of knocking over Ryder's king before leaving the room.

Ryder ignores her. "I would like to ask you," He pauses and for a moment I believe it's for dramatic effect until I catch sight of the barely controlled anger in his eyes. "What in flaming hell were you thinking?"

For a split second, I'm not sure how to respond.

But then my irritation with him jumps up and I glare at him. "I was trying to make sure you didn't get hurt."

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